Consider this a follow up to last week’s Personal Reflection on Recent News.
Things appeared quite bleak for Saab last Friday when I wrote that piece and the event that inspired it – the non-payment of staff in a timely manner – is not an event that anyone wants to even think about repeating. Whilst there were various developments in the pipeline, they were in the pipeline and of course, we couldn’t talk about them until they were done. As we’ve learned from press releases in the last few days, there are (quote) “no assurances” that discussion will be fruitful because we seem to face obstacles at every turn so we have to be very cautious when it comes to statements about the future.
Things have got done, however. We have a new order for vehicles that will provide immediate liquidity relief to pay staff (and more), and we have a conditional agreement in place for the sale and leaseback of our property. More is needed and there will be more to come, but the important thing is that the wheels are moving and with some co-operation from people in high places they will continue to move. We can then get back to doing what we’re here for – making Saabs.
For me, it’ll be a welcome return to home base. As I wrote last week, it’s been very difficult to be away from Saab HQ and my colleagues there in this difficult time. We have a huge job to do, to get things moving again and that’s not just in the factory, but in the marketplace as well.
As happened when Saab were being sold by GM, there has been a whole heap of news about Saab in the press, but the vast majority of it has been negative news. No matter what actions we have in place to overcome obstacles (i.e good news) the focus is always on the obstacles. Bad news sells papers, after all.
Deals are in place (Pang Da, Youngman, etc) that make the medium-long term future for Saab very promising after this short-term liquidity crisis is behind us. If people can actually make their way through the analysis and speculation to find news about the actual products that we sell, they’ll see that our vehicles are world class. That’s the message that we now need to communicate all over again.
We have a lot of repair work to do in order to restore public confidence. Some in the press have staked their professional reputations on our demise so I don’t expect too much in the way of changed tone from them. But the motoring press know what we’ve got in our product portfolio. They know that it’s very, very good and getting better. They know that Saab is a company that’s worth keeping in the automotive sphere. We have to get that knowledge out and into the wider community, and that’s going to be the challenge for Saab in the coming months and years.
We’ve had a lot of people ask us questions in the public domain in the last few weeks. I hope we’ve been able to manage those questions to your satisfaction within the limitations we face as a public company. I also hope we can bring you some more engagement with our executive team as the time pressures on them ease up a bit.
We’ve also received a LOT of support from people in our social spaces and I want to extend a heartfelt thanks on behalf of the company to all of you for that. Our enthusiast community is one of the most engaged in all autodom and they prove this support time after time, after time. Griffin up, people!
We still have work to do and we will keep on fighting. We never, ever give up. And most importantly, we keep working on designing and building the best, safest and most fun vehicles we possibly can for our customers.
I can’t wait to get back to base.